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FIAT 500C (2009–)

Last updated 17 August 2018

Characterful and charismatic. Funky retro look inside and out. Fun TwinAir engine.
Cramped inside for 6 footers. Not much room in the back. TwinAir struggles to match official economy. Rear visibility poor with the roof retracted.
Updated 17 August 2018

Report of alternator repeatedly failing on recently purchased used FIAT 500C 1.4 100HP.

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The Fiat 500C is exactly what you expect it to be – it’s a Fiat 500 with a convertible roof. That means it packs in all the charisma of the regular 500 hatchback but with the added bonus of top-down motoring in the summer, without too much impact on practicality.

The roof mechanism is simple enough. It folds electronically and can be stopped wherever you like, so you can have a little bit of a breeze or the proper experience with it retracted fully. Obviously this isn’t a true cabriolet, but on the go with the roof back and the windows down you get almost the same experience, though rearward visibility is obscured.

The roof can be operated on the go at up to 37mph, which is great around town. It does mean that you can’t fold it up and down on national speed limit roads, though – something that you can do with a Citroen DS3 Cabrio. On that car the roof can be folded at up to 70mph.

The engine range is similar to that for the hard top, with an entry-level 1.2-litre petrol, a fun little 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol with 85PS or 105PS power outputs and a 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel. The TwinAir suits the 500C perfectly thanks to its characterful exhaust note and sprightly performance, though its real world economy doesn’t match official figures.

If you like the Fiat 500 and want to enjoy soft-top motoring it’s easy to recommend the 500C. The Citroen DS3 Cabriolet is more accomplished as a driver’s car and feels more substantial, but it costs more than the 500C and doesn’t quite have the same charm. For many, charm will be the deciding factor and the Fiat 500C has it in abundance.

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